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  • Michelle Corp

FAREWELL TO MY 40s - An Homage to Yoga

It was in the fall of 2003 that I was invited to a yoga class in the East Village at the Jivamukti Yoga school in NYC that my life changed. I was 29. The chanting, the smell of incense, the asana on my 'magic carpet' enveloped me in such a powerful way that I found myself in tears. I had 'found home' & yoga had found me! It was as if I'd been searching for something my whole life and I had finally found it! Or as I just said, it found me!

Little did I know then how yoga would change my life. From 2003-2012 I was a professional actress. It was my dream since I was very young to be on tv & stage. Throughout those years of auditioning, yoga was always in the background. I practiced 6 days a week and tried many different styles: Jivamukti, Bikram, Kundalini, & Iyengar as well as other blended forms of yoga & martial arts like Buddokan, Shadow Yoga, & Primal Mvmnt.

In India at the age of 37, I embarked on the Warriors of Wisdom training and volunteered at the Kushi School for 2 months. It was there with the guru Anand Mehrotra and owner of the school that I was told I should end my career and embark on truly becoming a teacher. I was told I was a waiter - waiting for my life to happen. The thought of leaving my 'identity as an actress' behind and leaving my restaurant service behind seemed impossible.

At 39 I did my last professional gig on tv and it was a fabulous way to end that journey. My identity as an actress came to an end. When I turned 40 I was 20 pounds overweight, had no creative outlet, was deciding if I wanted to try to be a mother & have a baby, and was a waiter in a wine bar. My identity...I'M A WAITER!

I have waited tables since I was 18 from sports bars to Michelin Star restaurants. It was a perfect fit for someone who was acting, but it was crushing my soul. I was a WAIT-ER! Someone WAITING for their life to happen! I was in service, but not the service I was meant to be in.

At 41, after being fired from the wine bar where I worked, I knew then that if I went back I would start a food fight and become a lunatic for life. I was scared. My identities were crumbling: I was no longer an actress with a purpose, and the only way I ever knew to make money fell apart. I felt 'mask less'. Naked. What was I going to do?!

So I went to YogaWorks to take a yoga class. I had 'fallen off the mat' and had not practiced in 3 years. When I walked into the building there was a sign for a 200hr Teacher Training that was about to begin in a month. It was the sign I needed. I had some savings set aside and with the help of my partner at the time, I embarked on my journey to become a teacher.

Before I graduated, a friend of mine - Adam Schomer - asked me to sub one of his classes at his studio. I was terrified. I had a migraine for 3 days as I meticulously made a sequence. I didn't sleep the night before. 2 people showed up to that class and donated $40 for the hour. They loved my teaching! And so it began. Below is my first yoga picture as a teacher at that studio.

After finishing my 200hr, I interviewed teachers I knew who were flourishing. I wanted to hear their journeys and their mistakes and wins along the way. One of the many things that stood out was 'the magic'. They spoke of things showing up right on time. Of course, this spoke to me, as I've always believed in spiritual guidance and ones destiny.

When I announced I'd be a teacher, all the doors began to open. Yoga found me in 2003, but I truly FOUND YOGA in 2015 at 41! It's funny what the universe brings. I thought I'd teach lots of strong 'kick ass' vinyasa classes....but the first students who showed up to my class were in their 70s! The SPIRIT MOMS had arrived. I was terrified! I was out of my element with their rhythm and their bodies.

They were the biggest gift to me. Not only did they heal my own personal 'mother wound', they taught me to slow down and truly be in the moment. For years we practiced together. If you want to meet my first two Spirit Moms - visit my blogs dedicated to Yogi Arline & the Crane.

Above Pictured: The Tango Room Tribe, the Spirit Mom brunch, and the mystic inspiration that is Yogi Jess & John - I love you.

Yoga gifted me the art of motherhood. I became a mom to 80 year olds as well as hundreds of students in gyms, dance centers, corporate offices, and in yoga studios. I had so many babies! I healed the wound within me through yoga about what it means to be a mother; even if my babies never came out of my own body. This was the biggest gift yoga gave me.

Pictured: MC LYTE yoga class, RWD corporate yoga classes, corporate meditation class, crossfit yoga class, Sivasana at Disney studios, and my Saturday Tribe!

Pictured above: family yoga class, teaching Yogi Patrick how to Ôm, Mother & daughter yoga online, yoga during covid online, starting zoom classes with yogi Babette, and creating Vimeo On Demand free content for my dad's chair yoga class.*

Yoga also gifted me my love for travel and connection. My biggest dream as I've been teaching and watching the polarity in the world widen is to bring people together to realize WE ARE ALL ONE! Jen Hoddevick, owner of The Travel Yogi found me in 2018 and we became fast friends. She gifted me a chance to teach in France. Over the last 7 years I've taught in 7 countries and had the honor of watching students connect to other lands and cultures. I saw my purpose beginning to unfold. A new dream rose.

*Yogis in Nicaragua, visiting the monks in Cambodia, making lanterns in Vietnam, learning to surf in Bali, Yogi Aimee & I in France, and yogis in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland!

My dream is now to travel the world teaching yoga and connect others to foreign lands and cultures. I find that the farther you go out into the world, the deeper you go within. Yoga healed me in this way in India when the seed was truly planted to stop WAITING for my life to happen and embrace my journey of true SERVICE as a teacher.

Yoga has changed my belief around religion, how to make money, how to be a mother, how to connect to my own body, has given me the gift of creativity through teaching, and has ignited a new purpose that I see unfolding for the rest of my life. The 40s is the decade, so far, that I'm the most proud of. I became a teacher, a mother, and a woman I'm proud to be through yoga. I stopped waiting for my life to happen! I am in service now to my soul!

There's a RUMI poem that I always come back to when I think of yoga and being on my 'magic carpet' that has taken me around the world and even deeper within:

"There are a 1000 ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a 1000 ways to go home again."

A bow of gratitude to the power of yoga and to all 'my babies'. Thank you for your support. I never really knew who was teaching or healing who. Remember: ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO! I bow to the true teacher within. Always follow your inner guide.

In Deepest Gratitude

Yogi Michelle

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